The Washington Post published no preview story for the March for Life on Monday, despite its massive annual size. But it did have room on the front page of the Metro section to review "Macaca" and how Virginia Republicans "might" (the Post hopes) be ruined in state elections this fall for their insensitivity.
On Page B-4, the Post did have a traffic diagram with the headline "Streets to Close for Antiabortion March." The March is rebutted right underneath the diagram, listing ''ABORTION RIGHTS EVENTS." They reported Planned Parenthood will "toast the Roe vs. Wade anniversary with a benefit tonight featuring actress Kathleen Turner," and NARAL Pro-Choice America "plans a benefit Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel."
On the front page of the Metro section was a story by Macaca specialist Tim Craig headlined "Offensive GOP Words Might Speak Louder Than Va. Transit Deal." It had the typical Post thesis that social conservatives (the "far right") are destroying the Virginia GOP:
If a Democratic uttered something even close to this the media would be all over it like white on rice:
“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.
Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks.
Wednesday’s Washington Post drew an uproar in rural Virginia when the Style section made unfunny jokes about rural Virginia being a place of drug labs, Cracker Barrel, the NRA, and "freshly killed venison," while Northern Virginia liked urbane things, like "Alfred, Lord Tennyson." Libby Copeland’s syrupy tribute to James Webb in that section Wednesday presented him as a wonderful match for lovers of both venison and Tennyson. The title was "Don’t Call Him Redneck: James Webb Hates the Expression, But Is Very Proud of the Culture."
The most notable part was Webb’s "towel-head" expression for Arabs. In describing screenwriting and typical movie villains to Copeland, Webb said: "Towel-heads and rednecks – of which I am one. If you write that word, please say that. I mean, I don’t use that pejoratively, I use it defensively. Towel-heads and rednecks became the easy villains in so many movies out there." Did someone step in Macaca? Not if the Post is judging.
On Wednesday, the Washington Post endorsed James Webb’s “independent-minded challenge” running as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate against Sen. George Allen. If ever an endorsement has seemed less necessary to identify a newspaper’s position on a federal election, I’m not sure what it is. To match the endorsement, Wednesday’s Post had a classic Webb-fanzine story on the front of the Metro section.
The Metro section article was titled “Webb Is Reluctant To Advertise Duty: Veteran Blasts Allen’s Public Comments.” In a typical display of utter shamelessness, Michael Shear and Tim Craig reported “Webb said it is improper to use military service in an overtly political way.” Webb’s quote: “I don’t think it’s right to use someone’s service directly for a political reason.” This article should have been laughed away from the Metro desk. Webb’s biography as a Vietnam veteran and eight-month Navy Secretary under Reagan has been his constant, everyday calling card in this race. The man with the motto "Born Fighting" on every bumper sticker and yard sign? Need we remind the Washington Post of the Webb campaign's first TV ad? It went like this:
When the Washington Post first opened its big can of "macaca" on Sen. George Allen, the story was presented as if it wasn’t an opposition-research ploy from the Democratic campaign of Jim Webb. The headline was "Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology." But on Thursday, when the Allen campaign revealed a whopper on Webb, the Post headline was "Va. Senate Race Goes Negative on 1979 Essay." Both articles were written by Michael Shear and Tim Craig. Thursday’s story opened:
Virginia's U.S. Senate race turned nasty Wednesday as Republican Sen. George Allen launched a character attack on his Democratic opponent's past views toward women in combat, signaling the start of a two-month barrage of negative campaigning in what has become a close race.
The Washington Post is at it yet again. Almost a month after Sen. George Allen said "Macaca," it's back on the top of the front page of the Metro section again Sunday, with another happy-days-for-Democrats headline: "'Macaca Moment' Marks a Shift in Momentum: Allen's Gaffe, Demographic Changes Give Webb a Boost."
Reporter Michael D. Shear is clearly dedicated to making this nonsense word into the defining moment of Sen. Allen's entire political career:
Allen's "macaca moment" -- a term that has rapidly become part of America's political lexicon -- has breathed new life into Webb, a former Republican and Vietnam war hero who worked for Ronald Reagan.
Nine days after Sen. George Allen's less-than-monumental "Macaca" moment happened in southwest Virginia, The Washington Post is still flogging the story hard. In Sunday's paper, the article sprawled across the top of the Metro section is headlined "For One Group, 'Macaca' Recalls Slurs After 9/11." The subheadline is "Many Indian Americans Are Disturbed by Allen's Remarks, but Some See a Chance to Strengthen an Alliance." (It should not surprise you that the less disturbed aren't on the front page.) The story by Michael Shear and Leef Smith began:
Word of Sen. George Allen's controversial comments flashed across the country last week, but nowhere more rapidly than in Virginia's Indian American community, where frustration over ethnic stereotypes has intensified since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
After devoting two front-page stories this week making a mountain out of the molehill of Sen. George Allen joshing with fellow Republicans about a Democrat opposition researcher's haircut, calling him "Macaca," the Washington Post put the story back on top of the front page Saturday with the headline "Allen Flap May Give A Boost to Webb: Reenergized Va. Democrats Gain Support."
Could we be any more transparent in using our front page as an advertising vehicle for the Democrats? The headline is a little incomplete. It could read: "Allen Flap May Give A Boost to Webb: We're Certainly Trying Hard to Make It So." And the subheadline could be "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes."
The Washington Post kept at its molehill "Macaca" scoop against George Allen Thursday, but not on the front page. Here's the latest coverage, in review:
-- With the headline "Here's the Big Hairy Deal," the most prominent coverage is on top of the front page of the Style section, a series of photos explaining that the demeaned Democratic cameraman/spy S. R. Sidarth was actually wearing not a mohawk or a mullet, but a "moo-lette," which is apparently a hot style in Spain. (Counter-spin to the Post: if Allen was joking about Sidarth being a representative of Hollywood-screenwriter Jim Webb, joking about the exotic Hollywood lifestyle vs. Virginia's, does not the fancy Spain-hair prove the oh-so-cosmopolitan point a bit?)
When the Democrats think they have embarrassed Sen. George Allen, it's front-page news. But what about when Allen's camp think they have mightily embarrassed Democrat opponent Jim Webb? One example came in a debate in late July, where Allen showed that Webb didn't know as much as he should about the state he's running in:
At a debate Saturday in Hot Springs, Allen surprised challenger James Webb by asking what he thought of [Craney Island], never mentioning the planned [cargo] terminal. Webb, who is making his first run at office, was forced to admit he didn't know what or where it was, causing Allen to get a chuckle out of the audience when he said, "It's in Virginia."
The fall campaign period for The Washington Post has clearly begun, as the Post has judged Sen. George Allen's "macaca" remark to be worthy of the front page again on Wednesday. This installment notes that "Democrats, left-wing bloggers, and civil rights groups called him 'insensitive' and 'racist,' while some conservatives called him 'foolish' and 'mean.'" The story ends by quoting National Review editor Rich Lowry from The Corner yesterday saying Allen shows a "mean streak." But there's more proof of the double-standard on demeaning Indians. On January 7, 2004, Sen. Hillary Clinton apologized for a bizarre joke about how Mahatma Gandhi ran a gas station in St. Louis. The Post buried her apology on page C-3 in the "Names and Faces" gossip column, with just 200 words:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized yesterday for joking that Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in St. Louis." The New York Democrat made the remark Saturday at a fund-raiser in St. Louis for Senate candidate Nancy Farmer while Clinton was introducing a quote from Gandhi. Many in the crowd of 200 laughed, and Clinton said: "No, Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader of the 20th century." She then quoted the Indian independence leader as saying: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
A friend e-mailed me that Mark Ambinder at The Hotline (formerly of the ABC News Political Unit) has his own analysis of the WashPost "macaca" mania -- Allen's campaign has upset the Post:
The death-knell for Republican candidates in Northern Virginia has been the active hostility of the Washington Post. Usually, a GOP candidate can neutralize the problem by neutralizing the Post -- not alienating the beat reporters and keeping the editorial page from beating the snare drum.
Two signs today that the Allen campaign has seriously angered the Post. First, there's the A1 placement of a story that is arguably interesting and compelling but not earthshatteringly newsy. Within the story, there's a hint that Allen's campaign manager, Dick Wadhams zoinked off the reporter who called him.
A Washington Post Editorial addressing a recent gaffe by Virginia Senator George Allen, actually mis-characterizes the incident. The line "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia" had nothing to do with anyone's race, or presumed country of origin. It followed directly on the heels of Allen lambasting opponent Webb for being off with the Hollywood elite. It was that contrast Allen was attempting to draw as you can see here.
The idea that holding up minorities to public scorn in front of an all-white crowd will elicit chortles and guffaws? (It did.) The idea that a candidate for public office can say "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia!" to an American of Indian descent and really mean nothing offensive by it?
In early July, Sen. Joe Biden joked before a C-SPAN camera that “you cannot go into a Dunkin Donuts of a 7-Eleven unless you have a slight Indian accent.” Conservatives had a little fun with it, but said: a harmless slip, but if a Republican ever did it, the media would have a much different standard. That day is now. Sen. George Allen mocked an Indian-American Democratic volunteer as a "macaca," and the Post played it up on the front page, along with a very tendentious staff editorial to boot insisting Allen's racial "bullying" was beyond "the bounds of decency." Washington Post coverage of Biden? None. Not in the paper.
In merely the latest in a string of Washington Post stories lamenting how Virginia is somehow chasing gay people out of the state by preserving traditional marriage at the ballot box, reporter Kirstin Downey revealed her quite partisan way of assembling evidence to prove her repetitive liberal thesis:
State Del. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria), who is gay, circulated a Washington Post inquiry seeking people willing to be interviewed on the record about their decisions to move out of Virginia. Two dozen responded; 10 others said they were waiting for the November elections to decide.
The headline of the story is "Feeling Unwelcome, Some Gays Vacate Virginia: November Ballot Ban Helps Fuel Migration." The whole story is told sympathetically from the gay-left point of view, as almost a nudge to encourage gays to escape Virginia. It begins with Edel Quinones of Arlington, and the idea that Arlington is a bastion of Christian conservatism is a knee-slapper. Didn't the Post just get finished highlighting Arlington's gay legislator/athlete?
Do the votes in New Jersey and Virginia signal a "Republican unraveling," as the Times suggests, or is the paper just promoting wishful Democratic thinking?
Thursday's "House Shelves Plans for Alaska Drilling" by Carl Hulse is ostensibly about the issue raised in the headline, but much of it harps on the Republican losses in Tuesday's elections (even though the party didn't actually lose any seats). The text box argues: "A concession adds sting to Republican election losses."
Actually, if current returns hold up, Republicans actually made gains in the two contested states by unseating Virginia's Democratic Lt. Governor and narrowly retaining the Attorney General slot.
New Jersey and Virginia's tradition of odd-year elections for governor give the media ample fodder for speculation on how Democrats and Republicans will perform in future congressional and presidential elections. But for the New York Times, the Democratic successes of 2005 seem to have far more significance than did the Republican successes of 1993 and 1997.
In 1997, New Jersey's Republican governor Christine Whitman won a close race for re-election, while Republican James Gilmore won in Virginia. The Republican successes in Bill Clinton's second term, when he wasn't up for reelection, were downplayed by the Times two days afterward in a headline: "With Big Issues Absent, The Little Things Count." Reporter Richard Berke didn't see any political significance at all: "Forget the post-mortems about ideological shifts, Republican revivals or which candidate had the most money. The legacy of the off, off-year elections on Tuesday may simply be this: Think small."
Friday's Washington Post provided quite a juxtaposition of biased headlines, stressing how many dislike the Republican gubernatorial candidate while the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor is emphasizing positive issues, over two stories about November's Virginia elections which the paper placed on the front page of the “Metro” section. “Kilgore's Record May Polarize Voters in Va.” declared the headline about Republican Jerry Kilgore which ran across the top of the “Metro” section in the Virginia edition of the newspaper. At the bottom of the same page, readers saw this headline over a look at liberal Democrat Leslie Byrne: “'Kitchen Table' Issues at Heart of Byrne's Lt. Gov. Campaign.” The Post's online posting, which located the article on page B-5, instead of B-1 where it appeared in the hard copy of the Virginia edition, carried this slightly different headline, “'Kitchen Table' Issues Are Byrne's Focus,” followed by this unctuous sub-head: “Lt. Governor Candidate's Pitch: Help for Head Start, Small-Business Health Insurance.” The lead to that article follows.
The Washington Post reported today on the Virginia gubernatorial debate between Republican Jerry Kilgore and Democrat Tim Kaine, noting how Kilgore "faltered under a series of questions by moderator Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press."
Russert asked Kilgore whether he would sign a bill to outlaw abortion if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Kilgore called the question hypothetical. Russert followed up by asking if he would veto a tax hike. He said he would. "That's a hypothetical question!" Russert said, "prompting laughter from the luncheon crowd of more than 500 Northern Virginia business executives," the Post reports. The story then quotes poli-sci professor/pundit Larry Sabato: "Kilgore was nervous and tense. He sounded bad. He argued badly," said Sabato, who will moderate the last gubernatorial debate next month. "This was Kaine's best performance ever." The Post doesn't really note that Northern Virginia business executives in this crowd want higher taxes for better roads and better business for them.